27 May 2024 09:47

Ukraine to expand capacity for electricity imports from Europe, expects all nuclear units to operate

MOSCOW. May 27 (Interfax) - The issue of increasing permitted capacity for Ukrainian electricity imports from Europe, which currently totals 1.7 GW, will be resolved by winter, Ukrainian media reported, citing Energy Minister German Galuschenko.

"I am confident that this decision will be made by winter. I'm not currently prepared to say what this amount will be, 2.2-2.3 GW or 2 GW, but I'm confident that there will be a decision. Taking into account massive attacks, the fact that the Europeans see the situation, understand, we are constantly sharing information with them after every attack, this issue will be resolved," Galuschenko said in statements to parliament on Friday that were posted on YouTube.

Electricity imports are one of the main measures to deal with the shortage of generation in Ukraine and the country can technically import over 2 GW of power from Europe, he said.

"Technically, we can currently import over 2 GW, even up to 2.4-2.5 GW, especially given that last year we launched another connecting line, an interconnector with Europe, the Rzeszow-Khmelnitsky NPP line. We are now working on another two projects to build interconnectors, but that's not for this winter, these are projects that will take several years to carry out. But even with the current technical capabilities, we can increase this amount," Galuschenko said.

All nine of the nuclear generating units accessible to Ukraine, at the Rovno, Khmelnitsky and South Ukraine nuclear power plants, will be operable by the start of winter after undergoing repairs, he said.

"The key thing that we are aiming for is that all nine units will be in the system by next winter, as was the case last winter," Galuschenko said, remarking that three units are now undergoing maintenance.

"The repair campaign is approved by orders of the ministry. We see it clearly. If you look at the planned schedules of the repair campaign last year, Energoatom reduced it by 72 days across all nuclear units. Today the campaign is proceeding in such a way that three generating units are being reloaded," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on its website on May 16 that scheduled maintenance and reloading work is being done at two of the four units at the Rovno NPP and one unit at the South Ukraine NPP.

The head of state nuclear power company Energoatom, Petr Kotin said two units will resume operations at the end of May and the third will do so in mid-June. All other units are set to be gradually taken offline for maintenance and returned to operation so that they will all be in the energy system by October.

Kotin said Energoatom has taken all possible measures to optimize maintenance "so as to reload the generating units as fast as possible and return them to the energy system."

Galuschenko also called for the development of nuclear energy in Ukraine and voiced concerns about public opposition to this.

"I'm just asking to be heard. Without nuclear energy, we won't have light. I just don't understand why nuclear energy projects provoke such apprehension. If we can build KNPP-3 and KNPP-4, that's 2.2 GW in the system. And we will do this. We will do this concurrently, while also developing solar and wind and another other type of alternative generation," Galuschenko said at a government meeting, referring to plans to build new units at the Khmelnitsky NPP.

He also said that, given Ukraine's geographical location, generation by solar farms is "close to zero" in winter. "We need to understand that the sun will not help us much to maintain the energy system in the winter. We have nuclear energy and we will develop it," Galuschenko said.

The minister said earlier that Ukraine plans to start building new units at the Khmelnitsky NPP in 2024 in order to offset lost generating capacity. This refers to two Soviet VVER-1000 reactors (Nos. 3-4), for which Ukraine is in talks with Bulgaria on the sale of the relevant equipment, as well as two AP-1000 reactors from U.S. company Westinghouse. The plant now has two generating units with VVER-1000 reactors.